Pinellas deputy fired for flirting with, soliciting woman he arrested for 'interaction'

By Josh Rojas, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, October 16, 2017, 8:02 PM EDT

A Pinellas County Sheriff's Office deputy was terminated on Oct. 16 after an internal investigation found he violated agency rules by flirting with and later soliciting for a private encounter with a woman he'd previously arrested.

  • Reports show incidents occurred between Dec. 31, 2016 and Jan. 10, 2017
  • Deputy Brian Britt admitted to violations
  • Britt used agency-issued cell phone to contact woman

The Sheriff's Office released inter-office memos on Oct. 16 showing the charges against Deputy Brian Britt, the findings of the investigation, and confirmation that Britt had been terminated.

The memos detail Britt's violations of department rules in connection with a woman he first made contact with at an Oldsmar residence on Dec. 31, 2016. According to the memo, Britt, 45, was dispatched to the residence to locate and arrest an 18-year-old woman wanted on a charge of domestic battery.

When Britt encountered the woman he believed to be the suspect at the residence, she reportedly came to the door wearing only a towel, and appeared to have just finished taking a shower. In the process of confirming the woman's identity, Britt went into the home and saw a second female in the shower naked, according to Britt's description of the arrest.

Upon confirmation of the woman's identity, Britt arrested her, placing her in handcuffs. But later, while waiting for a prisoner transportation van at another location, Britt reportedly removed the woman's handcuffs and engaged her in "personal and flirtatious" conversation until the van arrived.

Britt reportedly discussed personal information about himself, as well as learned that the woman was an adult entertainer/dancer. He also asked about where the woman worked, asked if the other woman he saw at the residence worked at that location, and mentioned that he'd "like to go to the adult club" in his off-duty hours.

After the woman was booked at the Pinellas County Jail, she made a call to the other woman at the house where she was arrested. During the call, which was recorded, she told the other woman everything Britt told her.

Minutes after she was released, Britt reportedly contacted her using his department-issued cell phone. He continued to call and text the woman over the next seven to ten days, with texts described as "flirtatious" that disclosed additional information about his marital status and personal life.

The contact led to Britt soliciting the woman for a private encounter at his home in New Port Richey. When the woman asked the purpose of the invitation and mentioned that she was with the other woman he'd seen during the initial contact, Britt reportedly said the invitation was for "conversation," extended the invite to the woman's friend, and offered them each $100 for one hour of their time.

The woman agreed to the visit, and traveled from St. Petersburg to New Port Richey with her friend that night. According to Britt's testimony, both women showed signs of impairment upon arrival, and Britt himself had consumed approximately "12 shots of tequila."

During the visit, the woman explained that she is compensated for engaging in "fetishes" requested by clients, and she referred to Britt as a client.

At a later point in the conversation, Britt reportedly began "rubbing the arrested female's thigh." This prompted an angry exchange during which the woman said touching was not part of the agreement for $100 compensation, and Britt saying he was not going to pay for just "conversation."

The encounter ended with Britt providing the woman with gas from a gas can at his house as compensation for their travel and the women leaving. Britt told investigators he suspected they were still impaired.

Britt admitted to the violations listed in the memo, and testified that he'd invited the women to his home because he was drinking, depressed and wanted "interaction." He also admitted that during the time the woman and her friend were at his home, his 11-year-old daughter was present and asleep at the house.

Britt said after the incident occurred he recognized he'd made "a crucial and regretful error in judgment." He later told investigators, "I'm an idiot."

"I don't even know where to begin with that as far as astonishment," said Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri during comments to the media regarding Britt's termination. "About a deputy sheriff, a cop, somebody you arrest, you're giving them your home address to come to your house for 'interaction' and you're going to pay them $100 with your 11-year-old daughter sleeping in the back bedroom."

A county review board found that Britt "failed to demonstrate responsibility" and deviated from his duty to "maintain a standard of conduct in [his] personal and professional life which is ethical."

"In conclusion, [Britt] stated that 'I'm an idiot,' and I agree," Gualtieri said. "He is an idiot for doing this and doing this with his 11-year-old daughter in the house."